Momstamp is a huge fan of P.S. ARTS and their mission of improving the lives of children by providing high-quality arts education to California’s underserved public schools & communities. It’s vital work in our community.
Each November, families across Southern California come together for P.S. ARTS’ biggest fundraiser of the year, Express Yourself. This fun-filled afternoon gives adults and children an opportunity to experience the joy and creativity that nearly 25,000 students discover every day in P.S. ARTS’ classrooms. This year’s Express Yourself is on November 15, 2015. Momstamp is thrilled to be hosting a booth. Pick up some tickets for your family and come say hi to us at our booth!
Jon Layne (pictured above) from the Party Layne Events, has been a sponsor of the event for the past seven years. Momstamp sat down with Jon to find out what inspired him about P.S.ARTS and what being a new father has meant to him.
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What was it about P.S. ARTS and their mission that drew you in?
I love using art as a vehicle for creativity, imagination, and risk taking. For me, it’s really about teaching kids how to be creative. I can’t imagine going to school and not having access to art. Music, dance, and art facilitate major developmental growth and play an important role in “kid life.” Not every kid excels in math and science. To see an organization that makes sure kids have this experience today in our public schools is very important and so close to home to me.
I remember learning how to play the bongos in Mrs. Green’s 6th grade music class. Recently, we were teaching my daughter, Maddie how to play bongos, and I put a picture on Facebook. I tagged my old teacher in the picture and suddenly old friends from middle school who I haven’t seen in years started commenting and laughing that I referenced our 6th grade music teacher. The shared experience of creativity brought us closer.
Why should people come to Express Yourself?
This is literally everyone’s favorite family event in Los Angeles, it’s so unique. There are bright colors everywhere and at least 30+ different types of art projects. It’s easy to lose yourself in a packed day of creativity and fun. There’s 20 of the best restaurants, snacks, or beverages so you can also have a “foodie experience.”
This is also P.S. ARTS’ main fundraising event. The amount of money that the organization raises from Express Yourself, pays for a large portion of their operating budget for the year. Not only does P.S. ARTS pay for art supplies for children but they also pay for the teachers and curriculum. The event is a great way connect your kids with a creative experience while also supporting the creative experience of others. At the event, the art experience for kids is so visceral they can more easily understand what the work the organization does for others.
What what was your art education like as a kid?
Art was always fun for me, growing up there were definitely projects that stand out in my mind. In my high school in physics class, the teacher incorporated an element of drawing into the curriculum. The hybrid between science and art helped me to get an A in the class. We would use colored pencils in our science experiments to create models of what we were learning so that it made more sense. Using the creative skills from my arts education really helped me cognitively process what I was being taught in other fields.
How did having a child change your professional life both practically & creatively?
I am young at heart, a giant kid. I still love toys, music, art, the culture, and the fashion. To have somebody, a little mini me, that I get to share that with and teach and play with is amazing. When she sees these things for the first time it brings me back to that initial joy. Our play time becomes a creative outlet. Then new ideas spark… and I’m introduced to new companies that I then can work with professionally.
One of our Toddler Town sponsors at Express Yourself, Hape, makes amazing wood toys and musical instruments. I loved their musical instruments when I was playing with them with my daughter. To be able to approach them on a professional level and say I want to create programs with you and bring them into P.S. ARTS and to have them sponsor the event, brings everything full circle.
Being an entrepreneur you’re always looking for a new outlet to expand and how you can kind of fill a void in the marketplace. Definitely now that I’m in the baby space with my daughter, I definitely see that a dad’s voice is very much needed. The brands are all really are eager to work with the dad’s to get that different perspective. Some dad’s are stay at home dads, or single dad’s, but really all dad’s need to know how to do stuff too when it comes to having a kid.
What is your co-parenting relationship like with your wife?
We’re a great team. We said that we would both be in it for 50/50. I think it’s really important for both parents to have a really active role and be present in their child’s life. You know it used to be mom’s stayed home and the dads went to work. Some of my peers are like that but when I see two parents that are really helping each other fully, it just seems more beneficial for the kid. It also makes my relationship to my wife, Mari, so much stronger, we can have our dates nights, we can raise our child and have fun doing it.
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